Toddler Reenactment

I have lost count the number of times I have watched Frozen. Emma watches it all the time. At least 3 times a week (the rest of the time is Ben and Hollys Little Kingdom)

Not only are we in the phase of watching and rewatching Frozen, but also the phase of role play and pretend imaginary play.

Which is how I found myself playing Elsa to Emmas Anna, complete with a Frozen medley.

It’s scary how much of the lines she knows; granted they’re a tad bastardised. 

Here’s a few gems.

“Come on Elsa, wake up. The sky’s awake so I’m awake!” Whilst flopping on me dramatically.

“Do you wanna build a snowman?” After knocking on the bathroom door a few times. 

Lying on the floor, legs in the air, clucking her tongue. 

“Mummy! You be Elsa, I be Anna!”

Oh to be almost 3 again. 

I’m reminded of when I was 8 or 9, and my cousins and I used to go swimming at the beach, or to the pool, and we would pretend to be mermaids. I specifically remember laying in the surf, on my back singing Part of Your World from the Little Mermaid, pretending to be Ariel.  

 

Being a child is magical. 

Imagination Play

When I was little, I had a healthy imagination. Well, I say healthy, it was in fact, pretty vivid and artistic. At the age of 2 I had not one, but two, imaginary friends. Masha and Pompy. I saw monkeys swinging on the ceiling fans, I used to explore the back garden vegetation pretending it was a lost world. I once even excavated the garden looking for dinosaurs! Didn’t find any dinosaurs, but I did find the bones of a few chickens.

I played outside. A lot. It was a time when you could let your kids out at dawn and let them roam the neighbourhood until sundown, without much fear of them going missing.

I’d spend days in the library, reading and expanding my imagination.
I’d spend days at the swimming pools and beach, pretending to be a mermaid, or a life guard (yeah, baywatch was an inspiration!)

I’d spend afternoons, on the jungle gyms, pretending they were pirate ships, or space ships, or tree houses.

Make believe was a large part of my childhood. I often wish I was still a child. God I’d love to spend a day pretending to be a pirate exploring the seven seas rather than going to work every day!

But sometimes, I wonder where imagination ended. Where it ends for children.

I was walking home today, when two young girls appeared. Maybe 8 or 9 years old. They had a couple of sheets and a couple of sofa cushions. They wrapped themselves up and then put the cushions down and laid down on the floor. On the edge of the pavement nearest the road. I was perplexed.
When I got to them, I stopped and looked down and I said to them;
“This is a bit of an interesting sight. What kind of game are you playing?”
They giggled and one leaned up a little and she said to me.
“Homeless people”

I looked at them both, a little lost for words, and replied “oh! Right. Ok!” And carried on.

The two young girls went back to laying on the floor. With their sheets and cushions.

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I’m still a little lost for words. What else do you say to something like that?

A Monster Ate My Mum

A few weeks ago, someone RTd a tweet. It was an author looking for bloggers to review her new children’s book.
My brain went “ooooh book!”

You see one of my hopes for Emma is that she has the same fondness and love for books as I do.

I want her to be able to delve into the world of imagination and lose herself amongst stories of fairies, and princesses, and girls who live in mountains, and find secret gardens and boys who solve mysteries and whatever wonderful stories that come from the muses.

I want her to be excited to get books for birthdays and Christmases. I want her to ask to visit the library and book stores.

So I contacted the author, Jen Faulkner aka Instinctive Mum, aka @MonsterAteMyMum and a few days ago it landed in my postbox.

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Although the book is aimed for children between the ages of 2 and 12, I still wanted to do the review. You see Emma is only 7 months old. But to me that didn’t matter because you’re never too old or young for books.

A Monster Ate My Mum is a book about Post Natal Depression through a child’s eyes. A little boy wanders from Monster to Monster looking for his mothers laugh, her smile and her spark. It’s aim is to help children understand that sometimes their mum is sad or tearful, that she is snappy and that most of all it’s not forever and it’s not their fault.

I’ll admit, it’s the first product I’ve had for review which has reduced me to tears.

You see, although I am not one of the 10 – 15% of new mothers who has been diagnosed with Post Natal Depression, but I do have a history of depression as well as anxiety and PTSD. It’s something that I manage on a daily basis and some days I do better than others and on other days I really struggle.

I like that there’s a book that we can sit down and read together so that Emma understands that when my bad days are bad, that a monster has been to visit.
Because let’s face it, that’s what depression is, a lying monster.

It’s a really clear and simple to understand book, which flows very easily thanks to the rhyming words Jen uses. The pictures are very imaginative too. Emma seems to like it, and apparently, just like her mama who dislikes the monsters (in real life), she decided this morning to rip a page out of the book! Don’t think she liked the monster who ate mums spark… I caught her trying to eat him!

I would really recommend this book, especially if you have or have had depression, whether it be Post Natal Depression or not. It’s an enjoying read, and also, Christmas is coming up soon, so perhaps a stocking filler idea?

You can buy it from Lulu.com and it retails at £7.49 for a paperback (although it is currently now on sale for £5.99) or 99p in ebook format for instant download.

If you think that you may have depression, or you’re not sure if you have post natal depression or a touch of the baby blues, please do see your GP. You can also, refer yourself to your local Mental Health Community Service. If you are a post natal mum then you’re referral will usually be pushed to the top of the waiting list too.

Remember, “depression lies”, and it is something you can overcome. Always ask for help, because it will always be there, sometimes you just need to find the light to chase away the dark.

I would like to thank Jen for sending me a copy of her book to review. I’ve never had a review product that has 1) made me cry and 2) been so completely in tune with me.

I love it, and I hope that my love for books rubs off on Emma, and that in future she doesn’t rip the pages out and try to eat them. That’s not the definition of book worm that I had in mind!

I now need to find my Sellotape to fix the page that Emma tried to eat.

It’s Not OK

Today I watched a video. It’s was horrifying and upsetting and it broke my heart.

It was posted by fellow blogger and acquaintance Jane Devlin. Her original post can be found here.

Jane is someone I connected with via Twitter and she is someone that I have a great deal of respect and admiration for.  Her life has had its ups, downs and topsy-turveys.  She has also written a book, which if you follow me on twitter you would have seen a while back that I recommended it. Her book is called Elephant Girl: A Human Story.  It took me 2 days to read and when I was finished I had even more respect and admiration for Jane. Her strength and determination is amazing.  I would highly recommend you read her book.

I watched the video 1 and a half times.  The first time, I got about 45 seconds in and I couldn’t watch anymore.  I re-read Jane’s post and her last sentence really struck a chord with me.

“Do not turn away from this. Thousands of children suffer this kind of abuse and worse every single day. If they can bear the pain and trauma, then you — and here I am speaking to the ones who are so quick to criticize survivors and write them off as perpetual victims, chronic whiners, or people who just need to “get over it” — should at least have the backbone to watch four minutes of what an abused child suffers for years.”

I went back and I watched the whole video, horrified at what I saw.  I know that child abuse happens, every day to thousands of children, and I often wonder what I can do to prevent it.  I’d love to adopt and love and nurture and support every child who is abused.  Unfortunatley I can’t do that, but I CAN raise awareness.  It is NOT OK. it will NEVER BE OK.

I’m posting the video link here and asking you to read Jane’s post.

This video is NOT OK.  The way this child is being treated is NOT OK.  Child abuse is NOT OK.

If you suspect that a child is in danger of abuse or is being abused then speak up. DO NOT stand aside and do nothing. If you do, then you are just as bad as the person doing the abuse.

Childhood Dreams

When I was a child I loved to read. Everything and anything. My mom would drop me off at the town library with money for lunch and I’d spend the whole day reading. Every day in the summers that was where you could find me.

As I grew up it didn’t change. I still love to read, although I’ve moved on from Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley!

I have a number of childhood favourites. Heidi, Little Women, Little Men and Jo’s Boys.

The last two really struck a chord with me. Ever since I read them I wanted to have a big house with lots of kids to look after.

A childhood dream, which maybe one day may actually become an adult reality (if I ever win the big bucks on the Euromillions or lottery!)

The plan?

To have a huge great big house with lots of land in the country. Stables with horses. A play area for the smaller kids.

A huge great big kitchen to cook meals and to teach kids how to cook.

A huge dining area where we can all eat meals together.

A big living area where we can all watch films together.

A den/library filled with books an comfy chairs so that everyone can curl up with a good book.

Lots of bedrooms and bathrooms so that kids can have a nice safe environment of their own.

A small set of buildings on the property to act as a kind of school, with teachers for each of the core subjects. That way the kids can get a great education and one on one dedicated help should they need it.

An area for sports. An area for music and art.

A home for children who have been hurt, abused, broken. A home where they can be loved and helped to be the best they can be and encouraged to pursue their dreams and goals.

A place where no one is turned away.

A small dedicated team of child therapists and counsellors.

A place where kids can be safe, feel save, be loved and feel loved.

A charity of sorts to ensure the establishment can remain open.

That is my childhood dream.

To be a modern day Jo March.

One day, I hope.